Railroad turnouts in winter can freeze as a result of moisture, or become inoperable by drifting snow. A special heater can prevent the turnout from freezing, but consumes a lot of energy.

And in case of heavy drifting snow maintenance vehicles still need to be on the track to clean the turnout. Osborn’s product TurbFly® helps saving up to 75% of the energy used for the heating equipment and minimizes maintenance activities.

A specially designed set of brushes is being mounted along the turnout on both sides. The brush strips function as an isolator for the heater to keep the rail ‘warm’ and in addition prevent drifting snow from settling on the turnout.

Osborn has invented this brush system 10 years ago in Scandinavia. Since then over 1,500 turnouts were equipped with the system and help trains to arrive on time in winter. Per Axelsson, CEO of Osborn Sweden is very pleased with the reactions of his international customers: “Being operable and on time is essential for any railroad enterprise.

“Saving costs is another factor in times where everyone tries to be efficient, and even more so when saving energy is involved. The feedback for our invention is overwhelmingly positive”, he says.

In order to visualise what TurbFly® does, Osborn has recently undergone some testing in a wind tunnel facility close to Stockholm. Original size rails along with TurbFly® were mounted into the wind tunnel.

With a set of unique experiments it was possible to verify how the brush construction literally lifted drifting snow over the turnout. The results were put on record in a video.

Throughout the tests additional monitoring equipment measured the temperature of the turnout in various stages: turnout with only TurbFly® installed, turnout solely with the heating equipment and turnout with TurbFly® and heater.

The result speaks for itself: The desired rail temperature could be reached four times quicker, when TurbFly® was installed together with the heater. The amount of saved energy for the heater added up to 75 %. By this TurbFly becomes the most effective turnout protection system in today’s market.